Take Your Studio Everywhere for Musical Inspiration

Don't be stuck in your studio. There's a world of inspiration beyond your four walls. Now that laptops, iPads & controllers can fit in your backpack it's easier than ever to explore & create anywhere.  

Moore’s law has been holding true for us now for several years. Computers and hardware of all sorts have been getting increasingly smaller, and smaller. And, regardless of what your favorite method electronic music is, you’ll have to agree that it’s much easier to take your music with you wherever you go. But, at the same time, when I talk to many of the newer artists within my area, I still hear of one, or two places that people tend to focus on making music by themselves- In either their home studio, or in a coffee shop, and sometimes a practice space. 

This actually blows my mind, as when I was first getting in to electronic music, we had no choice but to stay in practice spaces, and home studios because the music was in no way portable. Yet, we dreamed of getting out and sampling different sounds within the field, or just setting up in a nice environment and having some fun. 

And, granted, for good audio recordings, you do need to be in the studio, there’s no doubt. But, what about just for sound collections, and sheer inspiration. Well, let’s cover some possibilities and methods for getting some crazy sound, just by getting outside of your home.

Guerilla Recording for Effects

Sure, there are some amazing plug-in effects out there. But, what about actually recording an effects track for drums, or a singer in an environment that actually has a real reverb? Twenty years ago, if you wanted to even attempt to achieve something like this, you’d have to drag a decent amount of gear out with you to really pull something like this off. Now, thanks to laptops, you could feasibly bring your laptop to a location, a mic stand, and a pair of headphones and record several vocal takes in indoor, or outdoor area with a real natural reverb.

Later when you’re back in your studio, you can record a ‘dry’ take and layer the heavy reverb/outdoor recording for track in for the final recording. 

Places to look: 

  • Local modern art museums 
  • sewers 
  • churches 
  • canyons

Constructing at Construction Sites

Like some percussion? Well, nothing gets more percussive than a construction site. With hammers, jack hammers, saws, drills and more going off, the existing cacophony can lead to a cornucopia of modern rhythm. 

Try recording for a few moments while sitting near a construction website with your laptop in something freestyle friendly like Ableton Live. As you build recorded loops, try making them into rhythmic loops and instruments while you sit there. It’s almost like you’re manipulating reality!

Building Near Beauty

True inspiration can always come in the form of natural beauty. We all have some kind of beauty nearby. Forests, parks, beaches, snowy peaks have long been wonderful sources of inspiration for the most reputable of all artists. Natural beauty can also bring some magic into music making. When your brain feels like it’s someplace special, it makes the whole experience of music making that much more profound. And, these experiences, later, can provide wonderful stories when you tell the tale of the songs inception.

Conclusion

These are just a few ideas for places you can go with your mobile music devices, and tactics that you can take when you arrive. Try it out sometime!

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More

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